Wal-Mart and Home Depot have smooth, strong grand openings

POULSBO — Opening weekend at Olhava went off without a hitch as literally thousands of shoppers poured into Wal-Mart and The Home Depot.

The Home Depot officially opened Thursday and Wal-Mart followed Friday as the pair joined Olympic College as active components in the development that has been more than 10 years in the making.

“This opening weekend went well,” said Poulsbo Police Chief Jeff Doran Monday morning.

Even with all the vehicles in the area, Doran said there was only one traffic accident, which was a non-injury incident at the exit to Wal-Mart on Olhava Way.

“Other than that, there were no arrests and there was a ton of people,” Doran said. “It was amazing to see the parking lot that full.”

The police department expects some impacts from the increased activity in the area in the number of calls for services, but it is prepared to handle those, he added.

“I don’t think it’s going to have a major impact on us but if it does, the city has already said that safety and law enforcement are a priority,” Doran said.

If the need for additional officers does arise, Doran said he is confident that necessity will be addressed.

Poulsbo Wal-Mart manager Doug Ayerst shared Doran’s amazement at the sheer number of people visiting the retailer’s new location.

“It was far more than we expected and we had enough customers to match the entire population of Poulsbo on Saturday,” Ayerst said.

However, the large volume of customers didn’t create any problems as his staff performed with excellence throughout the weekend, he said.

When Wal-Mart was announced as the anchor tenant at Olhava, opposition quickly formed and the city council held three months of hearings before finally giving the giant retailer the go-ahead. As the store opened nary a protester or sign of opposition was in sight.

“Everybody was so complimentary and happy we’re here,” Ayerst said.

Mayor Kathryn Quade, who visited Olhava this weekend, said she was impressed with the city’s preparedness for both openings.

“It was obvious the city was ready for this and was excited about it,” Quade said. “I think both store managers were elated by the response from the community.”

As the two major retailers in Olhava opened their doors, the city’s planning commission was expected to approve the remaining commercial short plats in the development Tuesday night.

With that approval, 26 single lots in the development’s business park zoning designation will be open for potential tenants and represent a total of 35.32 acres.

The largest of the lots is a 2.43-acre parcel south of the Olympic College-Poulsbo campus and the smallest lot is a .45-acre parcel on the southwest boundary of the development.

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